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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Default Which way to swing door?

    Hello, I'm looking to replace my entry door from my attached garage with a new fire door. When entering from the garage you walk into a room approx. 4' x 4'. On the left is a closet, on the right are the stairs to the basement, straight ahead is a door that swings left into kitchen. Light switches are on wall straight ahead. Currently the door swings right, toward basement stairs and blocks access until closed. Which way should my new door swing.
    Note: the closet to the left used to be a side entrance to the house which many years ago was closed up and converted to closet.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Which way to swing door?

    You can go either way, opens to the right or opens to the left from the garage, but it must open into the small 4'x4' room.

    If you are not happy with the current situation, make your new door open to the left (the cabinet side). It will allow you to go straight from the garage to the basement. This would be my choice.

    New doors can be bought to open right or left with door jambs included. To be cretain you are getting the one you want, the door will have an illustration. It's easy to confuse them.

    Just make sure the door meets fire regulations and is labeled so.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Which way to swing door?

    A fire door in a attached garage should open into the garage not into the house. There is less of chance for the door to blow into the home if there is a explosion in the garage if the door opens out into the garage.

    john

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Which way to swing door?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnjh2o View Post
    A fire door in a attached garage should open into the garage not into the house. There is less of chance for the door to blow into the home if there is a explosion in the garage if the door opens out into the garage.

    john
    Above, only if it opens onto a landing or both floors are at the same elevation; Doors cannot swing open onto stairways.
    Casey
    Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Which way to swing door?

    I would have the door open against the cabinets to give you full access to both the entry to the house and the basement stairs. Additionally, opening against the cabinets will prevent the door being opened into someone who is on the steps to the basement, thereby preventing an injury situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnjh2o View Post
    A fire door in a attached garage should open into the garage not into the house. There is less of chance for the door to blow into the home if there is a explosion in the garage if the door opens out into the garage.

    john
    Unless this is a code change in the past 10 years, almost every door of this kind that I've seen has opened into the house. The fact that you bring it into question warrants a call to the building department to verify. You know what they say about code requirements, location, location, location.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Which way to swing door?

    In my city a garage door must be a fire rated door and must open into the house. I'm yet to see one that opens into the garage. Also all attached garages are a step or more down from the house.

    Unless they changed the code without announcing it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    2,609

    Default Re: Which way to swing door?

    As best I can remember, codes require a door seperating any attached garage from a dwelling needs at least a one hour fire rating. Doors separating a garage from a non-habitable area that contains any utilities (plumbing or electrical) need at least a 20 minute fire rating. Doors to simple storage areas without utilities need not be fire rated. There are no code requiremants for door swing in residential construction so long as you're not dealing with a landing or obstructing egress but there are such codes in commercial and publicly accessible buildings. Here I would go for safety and access- swing in towards the cabinets so you don't endanger someone on the stairs.

    I believe a step-down going out of the dwelling is required with some building codes now, though I don't recall the minimum number here. The usual I see is 6-7 inches to be more like a normal step riser for comfort- these have always passed inspection; more difference with multiple steps if the site grade requires it, and many sites here do. The step-down is so that carbon monoxide gasses, which are heavier than air, have a chance to escape elsewhere before entering the dwelling.

    Codes vary with location so you have to check locally to know for sure. When I built with one company about six years ago, they had to follow four different building code standards in this area for three counties in one state and for one county in another. Occasionally these codes actually conflicted with each other so what was required for one place was not even permissible in another! Talk about confusing

    Now for some 'Door Trivia' Most of us know that the "handing" of doors means to place your back against the hinges standing in the opening, then see which "hand" would simulate the door swing In residential construction doors normally swing inward toward the room they access except for closets. In commercial and industrial work, door hand designations are different because these doors normally swing outward to allow for easy egress. Thus what you'd think of as a right hand out-swinging main entry door is called RH, just as you think. Code requires these entry doors to swing outward. Going down the hall this door opens into you encounter an office where he door swings inward toward the office. You back up to the hinge side and see that the door swings to the right, but this is not a RH door In this line of work, this is called a RHR- a Right Hand Reverse door, since the swing is reversed from the commercial norm. If it opened toward the hallway (which is against code if it obstructs the walkway area there) it would be a RH door, but the hinges would be on the opposite side now. If you wanted them on this side with the door swinging into the room, you'd call for a LHR door. If it swung into the hallway with the hinges on this side it would just be a LH door. In this line of work, hinges are called "Butts" and are always numbered by pairs; thus a door with three hinges would list 1 1/2 pair butts on the hardware schedule. These might be NRP for Non-Removable Pin, BB for Ball Bearing, or SC for Self Closing. And doors here are always referred to in feet and inches, never inches alone. Thus a Janitors closet might call for a 1 1/2 pair BB NRP SC Butts on a 3-0 X 6-8 1Hr Steel Door if they kept dangerous chemicals inside it.

    As you may have guessed by now, this is where I learned about doors, and many were heavy metal ones so you quickly learned how important it is to get the frames flat and square since you didn't have the option of trimming the door or moving the hinges around. The frames were often set in masonry and thus equally immovable. You could only shim the hinges- that was your only adjustment- so you learned how to shim hinges inward as well as outward. I learned handing by the old saying of "Butt to butt, left hand or right hand, go out or reverse". You can guess what the first "butt" refers to Compared to this stuff, residential doors are a piece of cake but I still see many 'carpenters' who can't grasp how to quickly and easily make doors work right and stay that way without altering the door or frame. And I see a lot of butchering around the hinges that should never have happened because they didn't know how to shim inward. As simple a machine as a door on hinges is, if you can't understand how it all works and how to make it stay working, you should probably take up a career other than carpentry!

    Phil
    Last edited by Mastercarpentry; 02-12-2012 at 12:40 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Which way to swing door?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastercarpentry View Post
    Now for some 'Door Trivia' Most of us know that the "handing" of doors
    Yes, unfortunately, if you go to the typical consumer box store, the idiot behind the desk neither knows what you're asking for nor what to order for you. Go to what remains of decent suppliers and it's a crap shoot whether the person knows a right from left as you describe or are using the "new" method which is the opposite of what us old timers have always used (back against hinge side of door, grab hinge, THAT is the swing direction). For this reason, I always take along a sketch of the application to show them EXACTLY what it is that I want.

    Last door I ordered was a double door. I needed an outwardly swinging exterior door without a threshold. I swear to God, the guy asked me at least a dozen times if I was sure this is what I wanted. This was AFTER showing him the diagram of the application and a detailed description.

    It is so freaking hard to find people who know their posterior orifice from a very large and deep hole in the ground.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Which way to swing door?

    One more thing: a garage door has to have a self closing hinge. At least around here.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    251

    Default Re: Which way to swing door?

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    One more thing: a garage door has to have a self closing hinge. At least around here.
    Well CA codes or often far different from the other 49 states. But they have some good ones too. I think I remember hearing that Romex isn't allow on hte 2nd stroy of CA new construction. Probably not a bad idea. Quite honestly, I actually trust my 86y/o rubber insulated and cloth sheated wiring in metal flex far more than I do romex. I still use it because I'm not about to spend 2X as much for conduit. But I will use conduit for "home runs" to the attic or other places as I go to reqire the house.


    Thanks for the info on doors. I've replaced a bunch of doors at work, but I cheat and just rely on the contractor to spec it out. IF nothing else, if he gets it wrong it's his diime. Plus I have too many other things to worry about to pay attention to thsoe smaller details. Being the facility engineer on a 100 acre industrial plant get a little hecktic.
    1925 Two-Story Stucco Beaux Arts Neoclassical

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